Wednesday, May 12, 2010

first impressions

Before leaving to America, a very dear friend (who is currently living in the same city and not too far from where we live) gave me this beautiful dark maroon diary, with custom made inscriptions of an old Arabian poem 'sheddy 'alayki al jarhi wa intasibi 'abr dajati romhan min'al lobabi' (I am stuck with one of the words) here's the best I could do: hold on to your wound and stand tall, through the arrows shooting from hearts. hmmn (R, a little help here?)

I wrote almost everyday for two months in this diary. Then there was a one page update last year. (I was a terrible writer, I will not make fun of my writing here. ever. again!)

Here are some of the things I found amusing and worth sharing:

Sunday March 19th 2006:
Walking on snow feels like walking on clouds, which is pretty amazing, really. (I even talk to my diary as if it's going to answer me back)

Tuesday march 21 2006:
... I noticed how Americans have a different way of speech when dealing with strangers or in a business situation, not only are they more formal, but they put on TV host attitude, and occasionally they'll slip a couple of informal phrases and then go back to being formal. I noticed that with phone-calls too. And I can't help but wonder, do they learn that watching their parents growing up or is it more conscience? (I didn't edit my diary, just to show you how far I've come in my writing, wow!)

A note today: I remember thinking how all Americans sales people are fake 'cause they treat you super polite and smile in your face when in reality they don't know you and probably don't care about you. (I no longer think that btw) I was home sick.

Thursday March 23 2006:
My stomach is still upset, I think even though we're eating much healthier stuff, my stomach is still not used to the cleaner healthier ingredients! (no comment!)

(about furniture shopping)... I got a little bit depressed* seeing the prices and facing used ugly couches. I am censoring the rest 'cause I sound soooooooo air headed.

A note today: I totally broke down and cried at the thrift shop. We went home empty handed.

Friday March 24 2006:
My first step in An American mosque  and I already answered the phone and promised a complete stranger to become her Muslim friend, I also got categorized to hang out with the older women and the aunties, rather than the cooler younger student sisters. I find it weird but interesting, I never considered myself older!

A note today: I ask my readers, to never try this at home (meaning: don't promise strangers over the phone to be their Muslim friends, what was I thinking?) The woman I befriended turned out to be very sweet though-- I got lucky. We lost touch about a year after I moved to Chicago.

About hanging out with the aunties in the mosque: there were either the teenagers--who obviously won't hang out with married sisters in their twenties, or the Aunties. The aunties embraced me while the teenagers rejected me. I do realize how pathetic I sounded, by thinking it's weird to not be with the "in" crowd. Today It's a challenge to even go to a mosque, I'll befriend anyone. (now I sound more pathetic)

Sunday April 2 2006:
...we didn't get our expected shipment even though it arrived. Apparently Americans have their bureaucracy too.

A note today: Before I came to America I thought, plumbers showed up on time, streets were litter-free, governments weren't bureaucratic, and people glided on the streets from happiness singing 'shiny happy people holding hands'. The last one was an exaggeration... obviously I am not that naive. But you do walk happily in the streets holding hands... no?

...and lets stop here.


Edit: here's the poem's correct translation:
"Cover your wounds and rise, through impenetrable darkness, like a spear of flame".
Thank you Rahma, you ROCK!


Yasmine said...

wow..I certainly had a different! I wish I kept a diary though of ALL THE THINGS I encountered in this country:)

Muslim Hippie said...

you should share ya Yasmina! and by all means it's never too late, you can start one right now *wink*

Rahma said...

Awesome! Please share more of those early observations. I felt like I lost that ability to observe like an outsider so soon! It's beautiful to see how much you've grown as a writer. It's an honor to think i contributed some of the material supplies :)
The translation of the verse is:
"Cover your wounds and rise, through impenetrable darkness, like a spear of flame". You probably already saw it on my FB page :)